Movement

At the age of 12, my fastball is 69plus, but it is Jason Motte-esque flat. How do I add movement?

First of all, are you throwing a four-seamer? Those are the ones most likely to be flat. You need to take a look at your grip. Your fingers need to be on top of the ball, not on the sides, and you should be on a mound high enough that you can throw downhill, so to speak. And you do need some wrist action—if you’re just throwing the ball and nothing else, not only is it going to be flat but also it’ll be a nice juicy target for a batter who’s sitting on that pitch.
I was one of those snake-jazz pitchers, no fast ball to speak of, but one day while warming up prior to a game I found myself throwing a pitch that was faster than all my other stuff. I called it my “whoops” pitch, and later on when I told my pitching coach about it he grabbed a mitt and a stopwatch and timed me. To my surprise I found that I did have a fast ball—an 81-mile-an-hour four-seamer with good movement on it (I was a sidearm pitcher), and he told me that for a snake-jazzer like me that was indeed a fast ball.
And so I added that one to my arsenal. You would do well to experiment with different kinds of wrist action and see which one will help you move the ball around. 8)

See, in no way shape or form am I a snake-jazzer, but I want movement to make my 95mph equivalent 4-seam even more dangerous. I can’t pronate early because that slows my arm speed down, but I do need to look at my wrist. Also, how do you add sink to a circle change?

Kevin, you can’t have it both ways. More movement will slow the ball down some. If you want it both ways, just look at it like having two different pitches. Your 4 seam and your 2 seam. Pronation will impart a spin on the ball that should give it some sink. It is all about spin when you want movement.

My son used to just throw a 4 seamer. Had good tail, but no sink. He started throwing a 2 seam and now has the tail with good sink. He will save the four seamer for when he has a guy who is a little late on his 2 seamer and wants to blow it by him. He’ll throw it high and it is effective. Most of the time the movement will get the guys though.

My son’s pitching coach used to pitch with the Braves when Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux were at their prime. He said Maddux could throw 94, but chose not to because he could hit his spots better and get more movement throwing 88-89. I’m sure he would throw the 4 seamer from time to time, but he lived 88-89 most of the time due to his great movement.

Do you know how to put tail on the ball?

Zita, can you show me different examples of wrist action?